Dalhousie Law Journal


criminal law, Canada, judge, parliament, Quebec, mea culpa


Why bother annotating the Criminal Code? At first blush the answer seems as plain to the casual reader as it did to Sir Charles: judges and others join Parliament in making criminal law. Indeed, despite the promise implicit in its short title, the Criminal Code is no more than An Act respecting the Criminal Law - a near-code which was and is a boat designed to be full of holes, to the great comfort of those standing by as it was launched in 1892 and, to a lesser extent, those hard at work bailing it out today. Today's Code admits to being an incomplete catalogue of the law of crime and, in a sense, Parliament has mandated judges (and perhaps others) to fill in the gaps when necessary. Morever, when the Code purports to account comprehensively for any given rule, the interpretive task assumed by judges and others is generally accepted as necessary to flesh out the text. Custom and cases make sense of the Criminal Code.

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Criminal Law Commons